Well over a thousand years old, the tradition of swordmaking in Japan is one of the most highly regarded metal crafts in the world. When all sword manufacture was prohibited in Japan for seven years after World War II, the age-old techniques were in danger of being lost forever. Today, in the hands of a new generation of practitioners, the craft is making a startling comeback. Connoisseurs say that the swords being produced now are the equal of anything made in Japan in the past few hundred years.
This book takes the reader into the workshops of four of Japan's
LEON KAPP is a molecular biologist at the University of California in San Francisco. He has studied swordmaking in Japan at the forge of the swordsmith Yoshindo Yoshihara. HIROKO KAPP was active as a graphic artist in Tokyo for ten years and is now a correspondent for the Tokyo-based Senken news organization. The Kapps live in San Rafael, California. YOSHINDO YOSHIHARA is a tenth-generation swordsmith who is ranked among the top sword craftsmen in Japan today. He began forging blades at the age of twelve and has exhibited several times in the United States. His son is currently working with him and will become the eleventh generation of the family to carry on the tradition.